Tonight’s Main Event FOX has all the makings of a legendary fight. One fighter possesses an iron will that simply refuses to let him lose, while the other combatant unleashes unbridled brute force with every swing of the fist. When you ask fight fans about Matt Brown and Robbie Lawler, you will get fervent responses telling of vicious knockouts, righteous comebacks, and outright dominant performances. Both fighters have put together some of the best UFC fights in recent memory and now are meeting to determine the number one contender for Johny Hendricks’ Welterweight strap. What more can you ask for?
Even though both of these athletes take up residency at the top of the 170 lb. division, each took a different route to get there. Matt Brown is the everyman. He is the ultimate story of resolve and determination. In the midst of legal troubles and a drug addiction, Brown decided to leave his party life behind and commit himself to the fight game.
Seeing him walk into the house on TUF 7, you never thought he was much more than a bar brawler with a ton of heart. He seemed like a guy that would be sitting alone at the end of the bar, sipping a snifter of Wild Turkey, that you had ZERO intention of messing with. Nothing more. Even after earning a UFC contract due to his attack first, ask questions later style, we didn’t think the scrappy Brown would amount to much. Boy, were we wrong…
After a seemingly fireable three fight losing streak in 2010, Brown has completely turned over a new leaf in the cage. He says defiantly that, “No one wants this more than him,” and it is hard to argue with that fact. He has rattled off seven straight wins with six (friggin’ six!) coming by KO or TKO. The man has a will that I have never seen in the cage before. He can battle back from the limits of consciousness and return fire to his opponents with reckless abandon, bombing his way to victory. Simply put, the man is must watch TV.
Opposing the “Immortal” Brown will be long time veteran and fan favorite Robbie Lawler. It is tough to not like a guy that has been storming into his opponents range and throwing brutal hooks, straights, and kicks for over a decade. At first, Robbie Lawler was a phenomenon akin to BJ Penn. They showed up early in the ZUFFA era, kicked ass, and went home. They each had “debates” with UFC management and left to find greener pastures. Lawler saw some success in EliteXC and Strikeforce, but his heart never seemed to be fully in the game in those days.
A return to the UFC sparked something in Lawler. It turned him into one of the fiercest fighters to ever walk on the planet Earth. Like Brown, Lawler punches first and thinks of the consequences at a date to be determined later. In his second UFC run, ‘Ruthless’ has perfected a hybrid of punishing power and complex technique. The way he slipped punches in his title fight with Hendricks was nothing short of masterful. The beating he put on the technically gifted Rory MacDonald was an awakening. No longer was Robbie just a brawler, he was a technical striker that learned to harness his otherworldly power.
To reiterate an aging trope, this fight is a physical representation of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. What will give in first? Brown’s iron chin or Lawler’s infallible technique? Either way, this is going to be a hell of a fight. As Dana White always says, “fighting is in our DNA.” Turn on a good fight, and everyone in the room will watch. This is the fight to invite your “casual fan” friends over to watch. This fight could be the Griffin/Bonnar of the FOX era. Make sure you are on your couch with a frosty brew in hand to witness it. I know I will be. (Update: I wrote this whole thing before Brown missed weight, but regardless, it should still be epic!)